Starfield has been in the works for quite some time. Bethesda had been interested in the concept long before trademarking it in 2013, with development beginning in late 2015. Eight years later, Bethesda's ambitious science-fiction RPG is finally right around the corner, with Starfield's release date now September 6.

Bethesda's shared quite a bit about the upcoming game, showcasing ground and space combat, settlement building, and more. Bethesda will also have more to show very soon, with Microsoft announcing that Starfield will have its own dedicated portion of next month's Xbox Direct showcase. A fair amount of information is circulating outside Bethesda's official statements, however. While some rumors are more credible than others, there's a lot worth looking at.

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2020: Starfield's first Leaks

Starfield's first leak was a trio of images posted on Reddit by user Electrical-Ad-8659. While that account is no longer active, people can still find the pictures online. These include a small UI element showing oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. The second image was a 3D render of a spaceship, with the third showing the player character in a space suit and a jet pack walking outside a planetary base. The ship's modular approach led to speculation that Starfield players can build ships similar to Fallout 4's settlement building. Bethesda later confirmed this during Starfield's 2022 gameplay reveal.

Starfield 2018 test area screenshot from discord

The same person later leaked a fourth image on Discord. This screenshot showed the player character standing outside what appears to be the same base. This all but confirmed Starfield's base-building and previewed the game's lighting engine. Youtuber Skullzi then shared an alleged leaked Starfield screenshot on Twitter, though its authenticity is questionable.

starfield river leak

The more significant news came in November 2020, when Todd Howard revealed that Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 heavily use procedural generation. While Bethesda previously used procedural generation for terrain, it would play a much more significant role in the new games. However, he clarified that Starfield and TES6 still feature hand-crafted environments for cities and other important locations.

2021: Starfield Development, Sketches, and Screenshots

starfield leaked image notebook sketches

In January and February 2021, YouTuber MrMattyPlays reported that an inside source told him that Bethesda planned to release Starfield that year. Later in April, he shared an image showing Starfield's 2021 copyright reservation. While Bethesda since pushed Starfield back to this September, it seems that MrMattyPlays' information was accurate when he shared it.

Other sources also suggested that Starfield was nearing completion in 2021. Industry insider Rand al Thor from the Xbox Two podcast claimed that "very reliable people" said Starfield was in the bug-fixing phase of development. This suggested that Starfield's development was wrapping up in 2021, though plans changed. Unfortunately, Rand al Thor's sources were right about one thing, however, and it's that Starfield is an Xbox exclusive. While the phrase "Microsoft exclusive" might be more accurate, PS5 players won't be exploring the cosmos with Constellation any time soon.

Starfield 2017 base building Screenshots

Meanwhile in April, Twitter user UniDaSensei shared a set of images giving fans an early look at Starfield's base building. The images reportedly come from a 2017 build of the game. The following month saw another Starfield image posted on Reddit and then on ResetEra. Allegedly sourced from an official website, the Starfield leak showed sketches of a watch, spaceships, and an odd structure rising in front of two planets. The watch face resembles the UI element seen in the earlier leaks. Images surfaced in 2022 of a similar-looking watch believed to be included in Starfield's Collector's edition.

The same month also saw Skullzi tweet out another collection of Starfield screenshots. The first tweet offered a first look at the game from a first-person view, confirming that Starfield supports multiple camera perspectives. He followed up with a 3D model of a space helmet and another third-person screenshot of Starfield's spacesuit-wearing protagonist examining a wall. The last two screenshots were an interior view of a colony or space station and a close-up of Starfield's UI elements showing the character's health, stamina, grenades, weapon, and ammo.

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2022: The Starfield Watch, Engine Problems, and 2018 Screenshots

Starfield watch

February 2022 finally brought fans a first look at the LPV6 Chronomark Smartwatch, which is believed to be an item from Starfield's collector's edition. The Android smartwatch closely resembles the watch from the earlier leaked sketches and briefly appeared in Starfield's behind-the-scenes video from June 2021. The design includes the words Est 2188 along with the Chronomark branding, implying that Chronomark is a fictional company in Starfield's Universe. The watch was designed by the UK-based The Wand Company, who's also produced a line of die-cast models based on the cars from Fallout 4.

Starfield Reddit screenshots

That April also saw Reddit user iTardavk shared several leaked images from what they claimed was a 2018 build of Starfield. The pictures seemed to show the same test area from the 2020 leaks but offered more and better angles of the planetside structure. They also provide more detailed looks at some of the base assets and Starfield's lighting engine. Another leaker revealed an additional image the following months, once again showing the game's impressive lighting system.

Starfield lighting screenshot

2022 wasn't all good news, however, with a purportedly former Starfield developer criticizing the game's engine. While they said Starfield looked great and the shooting was alright, the flying still needed a lot of work to make it fun. That's at least a little concerning since space combat is one of the most prominent new features, but of course, a former employee's words should be taken with a grain of salt.

2023: The Starfield Controller and More Development Woes

2023 saw more bad news for Bethesda Fans. A ResetEra user called Horns, who previously leaked info about Bethesda's surprise launch of Hi-Fi Rush, gave a worrying report on Starfield and Redfall's development. According to Horns, both games were in poor shape, with Starfield being the worst.

Horns also reported that Microsoft was pressuring Bethesda to release both games prematurely to recoup the company's losses from its cloud computing platform Azure. Given the unfinished state Redfall was released in, this is a worrying rumor about Starfield's development. However, Xbox head Phil Spencer recently said that Microsoft is helping with Starfield and seeks to avoid repeating Redfall's mistakes, and the rumor's legitimacy must be taken at face value.

On a slightly more positive note, April also saw the leak of a possible Starfield Xbox controller. An Imgur user posted several images of this custom gamepad featuring designs resembling a starship's control panel. These include labeling the left thumb stick as the throttle and the D-pad as power distribution. This would be a very cool item, especially if the labels correspond to the default mapping for Starfield's flight controls. Unfortunately, there's no way to verify the authenticity of these photos. Still, it wouldn't be unusual for Xbox to release a limited-edition controller or even console for a major exclusive title like Starfield.

Starfield Direct

Starfield ship ftl

Late 2022 and early 2023 also saw a lot of leaks, rumors, and speculation about Starfield's release date. Most of these didn't pan out, though this may be a case of plans changing rather than unreliable sources per se. Podcaster Rand Al Thor commented on this during one episode of the Xbox Two podcast, noting that Bethesda's plans for Starfield seem to be constantly changing. He also predicted that Starfield's next showcase would arrive in March or April. While that didn't happen, he wasn't too far off with Starfield Direct set for June 11.

Much of the recent Starfield buzz focuses on the upcoming showcase. Fans are hoping for a better look at space combat and ship customization, as well as looking at the game's quest system and more locations. However, most of these fall into the category of speculation rather than rumors, and it's hard to say what Bethesda has in store. If one thing is for certain, it's that Bethesda and Microsoft have a lot riding on the success of Starfield.

Starfield releases September 6 on PC and Xbox Series X/S.

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